Plank's Journey to KSU
Student-athlete Tanner Jones brought unique piece of wood to football program
KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct 8, 2019) — Turnover Plank, first known simply as Plank, has an interesting history at Kennesaw State University. The piece of wood with two eyes and a mouth the football team uses to celebrate turnovers was brought to the program by student-athlete Tanner Jones.
A senior in his fourth year as a part of the Kennesaw State football program, Jones is a special teams standout for the Owls. He is listed as a wide receiver on this year’s roster after playing defensive back last season.
Jones found Plank, a character from Cartoon Network’s “Ed, Edd n Eddy,” while on Spring Break in 2015. Then a senior at nearby Kennesaw Mountain High School, he decided to bring Plank back home with him.
“It was just funny. My friends and I loved it,” Jones said of finding Plank. “When I brought it back from Spring Break, we would bring it to our high school baseball games, and everybody loved it. It brings a smile to people’s faces.”
Prior to Jones joining KSU, Plank spent much of his time in the garage of Jones’ parents. Then, one day during the 2017 football season, he decided to introduce Plank to his teammates.
“It was actually during Halloween,” Jones said. “I dressed up like Jimmy, a character from ‘Ed, Edd n Eddy,’ and I took him (Plank) to practice.”
Plank then started to make appearances at games. His first big exposure was after an interception by the Owls’ Taylor Henkle in their win at Montana State University on Nov. 4, 2017.
“After I got an interception, somebody – I don’t even know who it is, we’re still trying to figure it out – handed it to me,” Henkle told SB Nation after that game. “I had no idea what to do. There was a couple of Kennesaw State fans in the front row, so I just held it up to them.”
One of those fans took a photo of Henkle with Plank, and within no time stories appeared in the Washington Post, Sports Illustrated and ESPN about KSU’s new Turnover Plank. Since then, Turnover Plank has been held and displayed by several players after making impact plays.
Jones is typically the primary handler of Turnover Plank. He always has his favorite piece of wood by his side and dressed up during the football team’s pregame Owl Walk.
However, the dressing of Turnover Plank is usually done by other members of Jones’ family.
“Actually, I gave it (the piece of wood) to my niece over the summer before I brought him here,” Jones said. “So, it’s just a fun little thing my niece and my mom do. They dress Plank up in a suit for our pre-game Owl Walk, and when people see him they just love it.”
Turnover Plank has built quite a wardrobe since his burst onto the scene.
“Oh, he gets a new outfit every single home game,” Jones said.
Jones is in his final season of football eligibility and plans to graduate from KSU this December. He also has a pretty clear outlook on what he wants to do next.
“Hopefully, I’m going to get my master’s in industrial psychology, and I’m hoping to get a job in leadership and management training,” he said. “Helping people to be leaders is something that I am very passionate about.”
Over the past four years, Jones has certainly enjoyed his time as a Kennesaw State football player and student.
“This is the best time I’ve ever had,” Jones said. “I love the coaches, I love the staff and I love my teammates the most. Having people support me 24/7 is a great feeling.
“The school is amazing with the best food, best people. It’s hard not to talk to everybody because everybody here is so nice. It’s a great school to go to.”
So, with Jones expecting to earn his bachelor’s degree in psychology at KSU later this year, what is going to happen to Turnover Plank?
“Everybody asks me that,” Jones said. “I have to give him to the (Kennesaw State football) program. I mean, I’ll come visit him when I can, but I don’t want to tear down a tradition. I don’t want to take any smiles away from anybody, so I’m going to leave him here.”
Besides leaving behind Turnover Plank, Jones will also miss his experience as a KSU student-athlete.
“This university and football here is amazing,” Jones said. “I’m from Kennesaw, and I didn’t know much about Kennesaw State at first, but since coming here, I’ve grown to love this place so much and I thank God for it.”
At least for the remainder of the 2019 KSU football season, plan on seeing Jones and his buddy Turnover Plank together as the Owls look to make another strong playoff run.
– Steve Ruthsatz
Photography by Jason Getz
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.